The fifth and final session, as well attended as all its predecessors, was devoted to the talmudic and rabbinic fields and was chaired by the Reverend William Horbury, newly appointed Professor of Early Christian and Jewish Studies.
Professor Neil Danzig, of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, presented a detailed analysis of a well-known Genizah fragment containing a prayer on behalf of the Babylonian ge'onim and the Exilarch, one part of which is in New York and the other in Cambridge.
The combined text comprises a ninth-century liturgical handbook from a Babylonian synagogue. Among the data contained therein are guidelines for the formulaic conclusion of a homily delivered in the synagogue on the Sabbath and festivals.
This homily, known as a pirqa, concluded with a blessing that later evolved into the yequm purqan prayer recited in many European communities, as well as the recitation of a special qaddish reserved for study sessions.
Edited by Stefan C. Reif
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